Enjoying your stay
We want you to have a great time. You can relax on the terrace, explore the beginnings of our newly planted woodland and find out about our wildlife project, play games in the garden or in the sitting room, make music, paint or draw, walk round this tranquil area, cycle the quiet little roads or tour the countryside.
Touring Dorset and the South West.
Orchard Farmhouse is in north Dorset, out of the rat race but within easy reach of so much. Fascinating beaches are just 45 minutes away at Abbotsbury, Cogden, Burton Bradstock, West Bexington and West Bay. Lyme Regis and Studland Bay are an hour. Here are some suggestions for tours from Orchard Farmhouse.
Here are three tours we can suggest.
Tour 1. Fish and Swans
From Orchard Farmhouse, head out to King's Stag and go south, through Pulham and Duntish and up onto a wonderful road with views across hills and valleys both sides. Drop down into Cerne Abbas, visit the village shop for cards and admire the Giant.
Head over to Up Sydling, stopping at the village of Sydling St Nicholas which is very quiet and pretty. Worth a quick stroll. The Greyhound Inn is a classy pub with good reviews.
Now cross the hill to Maiden Newton, turn right at the main road and then left when you are out of the village. You should end up crossing magnificent Eggardon Hill, but don't worry, you will eventually reach the A35. Turn right and head into Bridport for interesting independent shops.
Now head along the coast, stopping at West Bay for Samways, the fresh fish shop. The beach has lovely golden cliffs here. Or continue to Burton Bradstock for another fine beach and "The Hive". It is busy and quite pricey but very popular. Alternatively, in the village up the hill, we recommend the Anchor Inn for seafood. Best to book. 01308 897228.
Now continue on the B3157 towards Abbotsbury, stopping to feast on the remarkable views. At the bottom of a steep twisting hill there is a turning right to the botanical gardens. Well worth visiting.
On the left as you come into Abbotsbury there is a good little antique shop - rarely open but you might be lucky. There is also the famous Swannery.
Time for cream tea perhaps? Be sure to head out of Abbotsbury towards Hardy's monument, look back if you can when climbing the hill for another stunning panorama. Hardy's monument may be closed but the hill top offers yet more views.
Via Martinstown you will reach the Poundbury end of Dorchester. Supported by Prince Charles, Poundbury is an interesting development that divides opinion about building. We recently tried the pub in Martinstown called the Brewers Arms. Very attractive decor, very clean and we enjoyed the food.
From Dorchester fork right at the BP garage onto the old Sherborne road and you are back on the lovely ridgeway road. On returning consider a stop in Buckland Newton. The village has a fascinating layout amongst the hillsides.
Tour 2. Lulworth Cove, Tank Museum and Monkeys.
Head south via Ansty and Puddletown. (Or consider visiting Hardy's Cottage or the Tolpuddle Martyr's museum.) Via Bovington Camp you will find signs to the tank museum and Monkey World, which rehabilitates primates from all over the world.
At Moreton you will find the Moreton Tearooms (01929 463647) which have won a Taste of Dorset Award and from there you can walk to the house where Lawrence of Arabia lived, Cloud Hill, which is a fascinating National Trust property, to the church where he was buried and paddle in the River Frome en route.
When you get to Lulworth Cove we have two recommendations. A walk across to Durdle Door and an ice cream. The walk over the hill and down the steps is quite tough so be careful. There are two beaches and the cliffs are interesting.
The ice cream we recommend is by the main car park next to the cafe. It is called Finleys' Ice Cream Parlour. Their ice cream is made from organic milk and while not all the ingredients are organic, it is natural and tastes terrific. Clotted cream, ginger, honeycomb, raspberry pavlova, wow!
The cove itself may be very busy but if you take an inflatable there is a lot of fun to be had.
Returning via Puddletown, consider following the River Piddle through the pretty villages. Lots of excellent pub restaurants to choose along the way.
3. Milton Abbas, Studland Bay and Corfe Castle.
Look out from your bedroom window and you will see Bulbarrow Hill. This is the way to Milton Abbey, an abbey and school set in a delightful valley. The thatched cottage of Milton Abbas is like a filmset.
Cross county now to Corfe Castle but continue to Studland Bay before the crowds if you can. Best to try and get into the National Trust car park early. Avoid the traffic crossing to Poole unless you plan to visit Brownsea Island. Studland Bay is one of Britain's loveliest beaches.
On the way back visit the castle or you can sometimes pick up a steam train to Swanage from here.
Wareham is worth a stop and a stroll along the river bank. Imagine yourself in Norfolk if you are a member of Coot Club. The Salt Pig is a little shop in the centre of the town with a cafe within serving free range, wholesome and tasty food at a very reasonable price. We particularly liked the quiche.
From here you can head back via Blandford Forum, but try and find Winterborne Stickland and climb Bulbarrow Hill again. As you drop down, following signs to Hazelbury Bryan, the views of the combe to the left and the Blackmore Vale to the right are magnificent. There is a little gate on the left and a hill fort, from where you might be able to pick out Orchard Farmhouse in the distance.
Other ideas. Legends, choirs and caves
From Orchard Farmhouse, head north via Wincanton and Shepton Mallet to the Mendips. Here you will find Cheddar and its famous gorge. Wookey Hole is famous for its caverns. Make sure to visit Wells. The cathedral is magnificient, particularly inside. On your way home take in Glastonbury, famous for the concerts but also for its Tor, the Chalice Well and its alternative and ethnic shops. Visit the ruins and seek out King Arthur's tomb.
Other recommended tours include Stourhead (stunning gardens), Longleat (wildlife park), Sherborne Castle (music), Athlehampton (grandeur), Poole harbour (sailing), Bournemouth (beach and shops), Salisbury (great shopping) and tallest cathedral spire - Stonehenge and Amesbury stone circles, Lyme Regis (fossil hunting), New Forest (ponies and pigs). Or further afield we can design you tours to include the City of Bath famous for its roman baths, abbey and the elegant Royal Crescent, Bristol (Clifton suspension bridge, Brunel etc.), Dartmoor and Exmoor (more ponies, steam trains etc.)